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From your pediatrician: don’t blast us on social media

Please do not sucker punch me on social media. There will come a day when you are angry with your pediatrician. It will happen. You will be upset with her, or her office, or her staff. You might even want to leave. You might even decide to leave and sign a “records release” sending your child’s records elsewhere. That is your right…but taking your frustration out online in a public forum is very serious.

We understand that we might not be your perfect fit. We might be too bold, too outspoken, or too bossy for your liking. Or the opposite may be true and we are too soft-spoken, too wishy-washy, too quiet. Sometimes, I can see that I am not communicating well with a family and that we are not on the same page. I’ve written this before—it’s okay to leave and find a better fit.

If it’s a specific event that angered you, we’d like to hear about it. If you are angry about the way we presented a problem to you or the way we gave advice, it’s okay to let us know. If we put our foot in our mouth inadvertently, let us know. We cannot read your mind and may say the wrong thing. Let us know if something we said did not live up to your expectations or was hurtful. Please allow us the opportunity to apologize. We want you to be honest with us, so we can be honest with you.

If it was a staff issue, alert the doctor. Physicians are often so busy with patients that we don’t know if there are problems with our waiting rooms. If someone is rude, unkind or unhelpful, let us know. If you find the conditions of a room unacceptable, let us know. If a phone call was not returned in timely fashion, let us know. Please, take these problems up with your doctor the first time they bother you and not when you reach a tipping point.

Regardless of your decision to leave, please do not slander your doctor on social media. Your “records release” sends us a big message. It lets us know that you are not happy and have not been happy. A nasty post on social media is a sucker punch. Doctors cannot defend themselves. It would be against privacy laws to remark on you or your care in public. We cannot refute what you post nor can we explain our side of the events. It’s a your word against our silence. And it hurts.

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